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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Remembering Shakespeare...........

America celebrates Shakespeare's birthday this April 23 with a sonnet contest at the Folger Library and festivities at New York's Shakespeare Society. But as Peter Ackroyd's recent Shakespeare: The Biography reminds us, we're not sure if April 23 was the day Shakespeare was born or the day his birth was assigned.

Do you care? It's unfortunately typical of the slippery, unresolvable—and often tedious and irrelevant—conflicts of Shakespearean biography. It's sad that some people forgo rereading or watching Shakespeare's plays (have you seen the amazing new Laurence Olivier boxed set, especially the brilliantly iconic, diabolic Richard III?) and waste time on such evidence-deprived controversies as the recent dust-up between Germaine Greer in Shakespeare's Wife and Stephen Greenblatt (initially in Will in the World over the unanswerable question: Did Shakespeare love his wife? (Greer: Yes. Greenblatt: No. Actual evidence: Nil.)

A rare exception to the futility of biographical Shakespeare is Charles Nicholl's recent The Lodger Shakespeare: His Life on Silver Street. Nicholl, a master at digging up four-century-old actual documentary evidence, focuses on a 1612 lawsuit in which Shakespeare gave testimony that reveals him to have been involved in a dispute over a daughter, a dowry, and a wig-maker he lived with, a veritable French farce originally enacted just at the time (1604) when he was writing some of his greatest tragedies. Nicholl turns the complex reverberations of the lawsuit into a highly entertaining introduction to Shakespeare's London world.


Posted by Ajay :: 6:13 PM :: 0 comments

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